A New Italian Political Cinema?    

London Programme, November 27th. 

Venue: Lock-Keeper’s Graduate Centre, Mile End Campus, Queen Mary College, University of London, UK 

9.30-10.00: Registration

10.00-11.20:  Introduction:  William Hope (University of Salford):  A New Italian Political Cinema? Emerging Themes 

Session One:  Filmic Representations of Racial and Economic Marginalization

Introductory remarks:  Michele Rizzi  (Partito di Alternativa Comunista)

Shelleen Greene (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee): Equivocal Subjects: Between Italy and Africa – Towards a New History of Migration and Modernity – Haile Gerima’s Adwa: An African Victory and Isaac Julien’s Western Union: Small Boats

Lucia Ndongala (University of Salford): The New Italians and Questions of Identity: Cristina Comencini’s Bianco e nero

Dom Holdaway (University of Warwick): Observations on the Rhetoric of Matteo Garrone’s Gomorra


11.20-11.45:  Refreshments

11.45-1.15:  Session Two:  The Creation, Diffusion and Reception of Italian Political Cinema

Introductory remarks:  Mary Wood (Birkbeck College, University of London)

Sequence from Lettere dal Guatemala by Filippo Ticozzi

Filippo Ticozzi:  The Problems of Making Political Cinema in Italy

Lanfranco Aceti (Sabanci University, Istanbul) and Mick Grierson (Goldsmiths, University of London): Interactive Italian Political Cinema: Algorythmic Cinema and Participatory Narrative

Alan O’Leary (University of Leeds): Political fandom: the audience as constituency


1.15-2.00: Lunch

2.00-3.35:  Session Three:  Italy’s Socio-Political Past Revisited on Screen

Introductory remarks:  Geoffrey Nowell-Smith (Queen Mary, University of London)

Elena Caoduro (University of Southampton): The canonisation of an inconvenient memory: Representations of the anni di piombo in La meglio gioventù (Marco Tullio Giordana) and Mio fratello è figlio unico (Daniele Lucchetti)

Kyle Hall (Harvard University): Visible Ironies and Invisible Writing in Sorrentino’s Il divo

Catherine O’Rawe (University of Bristol): La prima linea (De Maria), Il grande sogno (Placido) and Romanzo criminale (Placido): a poetics of middlebrow impegno

Erminia Passannanti (Brunel University): Marco Bellocchio’s Vincere: Mussolini and Pope Pius XI. Two Competing Forms of Dictatorship

Mariana Liz  (King’s College, London): Nostalgia, Memory and History in Buongiorno, Notte  by Marco Bellocchio


3.35-4.00:  Refreshments

4.00-5.20: Session Four:  Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Italian Cinema

Introductory remarks:  Luciana d’Arcangeli (Flinders University, Adelaide)

Danielle Hipkins (University of Exeter):  Dirty Pretty Things: ‘Velinocrazia’ and female address with reference to Virzì’s Tutta la vita davanti

Mattia Marino  (University of Bangor):  Gender, sexuality and others in La sconosciuta (Giuseppe Tornatore) and Saturno contro (Ferzan Ozpetek)

Patrizia Muscogiuri (University of Salford): Alterity, gender and subalternity in Emanuele Crialese’s Respiro and Alessandro D’Alatri’s Sul mare 

Rebecca Bauman (Columbia University): Maria Sole Tognazzi’s L’uomo che ama; the inetto in domestic melodrama.


5.20-5.30:  Closing Remarks

Workshop Presentations

These should be in English, last a maximum of 10 minutes, and raise questions for further discussion. Participants are very welcome to prepare further material for analysis during the discussion periods at the end of each workshop session, but you are asked to respect the duration of the initial presentations; the 10 minute limit will be strictly adhered to.

The workshop location will be fully equipped in audiovisual terms. If participants wish to use a brief Powerpoint presentation, please send a definitive copy of it to William Hope ( by November 17th so that it can be checked for technical compatibility with the equipment likely to be used.  Given the brief duration of workshop presentations, we would prefer participants to use Powerpoint presentations featuring still images/frame grabs from films – or overhead transparencies – rather than to try and set up/show DVD sequences.


The London workshop takes place on November 27th; there has been an excellent response to the call for presentations and the line-up of speakers is currently complete.  The line-up of speakers is also currently complete for Cremona next July. However, there are several places available for the Adelaide workshop in April. 

For the London workshop, it has been confirmed that there will be sessions on the following themes (for the Cremona workshop, please see the “Cremona Workshop Themes” page in the right hand column of the blog):

  1. Italy’s socio-political past revisited on screen
  2. The racial, social and economic marginalization of the individual
  3. Gender and sexuality in contemporary Italian cinema
  4. The creation, diffusion and reception of Italian political cinema 

Although there are currently no places left for colleagues interested in giving a presentation at the Cremona workshop, the possibility of late withdrawals cannot be discounted. Therefore, anyone wishing to register their interest in being placed on a reserve list with a view to speaking at the Cremona event in the case of a withdrawal is asked to contact William Hope (

Confirmed participants for London now include:  Prof. Mary Wood, author of the volumes Contemporary European Cinema (Arnold, 2007) and Italian Cinema (Berg, 2005); Mafunda Lucia Ndongala, a researcher who has interviewed Italians of Congolese origin on their problematic integration in Turin; Michele Rizzi, a member of the Central Committee of the Partito di Alternativa Comunista who contested the recent presidential elections in the Puglia region; the film director Filippo Ticozzi; and Prof. Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, author of the volumes Making Waves: New Cinemas of the 1960s (New York and London: Continuum, 2008) and Luchino Visconti (London: British Film Institute, 2003).

The workshop will take place at Queen Mary, University of London at their Mile End Campus, and will be an all day event.

For participants requiring accommodation, we suggest the following hotels:

Tavistock Hotel in Russell Square:    This is a reasonably priced hotel (for London…), fairly central, and is a short trip from Queen Mary via underground train. The other nearby hotels owned by the same group (see web link above) are additional options.

Holiday Inn, Limehouse:   This is more expensive but is within walking distance of Queen Mary.

There are other options available that are cheaper than these hotels, and details of them can be given to participants if they wish; however, we don’t feel that we can honestly recommend very much of London’s low budget accommodation.

Further information about the event will follow in due course, including the possibility of an informal gathering/drink either the night before or after the event.


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